New capacity additions to help shore up summer power supply

by Myrna Velasco, February 20, 2015
from Manila Bulletin

There are anticipated forced outages that may strain electricity supply during the peak demand months of summer, but Luzon grid may still have some ‘saving grace’ of power capacity additions that could help plug portended supply shortfalls.

In data provided by the Department of Energy, it noted that there would be marginal to relatively significant capacity additions that are expected on-line from March to April this year.

But the availability of their capacities shall depend on how soon they can resolve some permitting, supply contracting and other major concerns.

It was qualified by industry players that the threats of brownouts will only happen if big generating units will simultaneously conk out – thus, stripping the system of sizeable capacity.

One will be from the Limay combined cycle power facility for 36 megawatts; and another from the uprating of the Bauang diesel plant for additional 20MW.

The department has emphasized that the Limay plant uprating involved refurbishment of six of its gas turbines which then yielded capacity addition of 6.0MW each.

The completed interconnection of the Caliraya-Botocan line which is expected for completion by the end of February will also add up 20MW in the grid’s supply.

It was emphasized though that there is “no backfeed power yet” and that the wheeling agreement between Manila Electric Company (Meralco), Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM), and the National Power Corporation (NPC) is still being awaited.

For the 19MW that is expected from the self-generating facilities of JG Summit of the Gokongwei group, the targeted completion is end-March.

And “if agreements and conditions will be met,” this capacity will be part of those that could join the interruptible load program (ILP), according to the DOE.

On the high side of additional capacity, the 100MW Navotas gas turbine facility of Millennium Energy Holdings, is targeted to be brought back on stream also around summer time.

While the facility owner-operator has hit a stalemate on its negotiations for a power supply agreement on the plant’s capacity, it was noted that its generated volume can be traded via the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market – and on the whole, it could still help ease forecasted supply tightening on the critical months of March to July.

Another major project that may be brought on-line by April 2015 is the 100MW Avion plant of First Gen Corporation of the Lopez group.

The Majestics solar energy project will also likely contribute 21MW – based on 52.5-percent consideration penciled in by the energy department vis-à-vis the plant’s total capacity of 40 megawatts.

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